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  • Listen: Lessons Learned from Scott LaFaro

    Listen: Lessons Learned from Scott LaFaro

    In the past four years or so, I’ve been asked to write or speak about Scott LaFaro many times. Each time I delve back into the experience, I find another side of the story to tell. That’s because my brain is constantly processing all of the information that I put into my head by transcribing... »

  • Wanna Be Great?

    Wanna Be Great?

    Q: In your opinion, what is it that separates the “greats” from the rest of us mortals? A: In short, thousands of hours spent working hard at their craft. Great work really is 99% perspiration, and 1% inspiration. I see this constantly in my students and my peers. The one thing that every great musician... »

  • Tale of the Fingers: An In-Depth Look at the Paul Chambers Tune

    Tale of the Fingers: An In-Depth Look at the Paul Chambers Tune

    Editor’s note: help us welcome Keith White as a new contributor on No Treble. I was checking out Mark Saltman’s column, in which he reviews the melody in Paul Chamber’s tune “Tale of the Fingers”. This is a notable melody, so I decided to analyze the tune’s structure and melody as a follow up to... »

  • Custom Shop: LeCompte Electric Basses

    Custom Shop: LeCompte Electric Basses

    Based out of the Houston, Texas area, Bud LeCompte has been building basses since 2004, after acquiring a technical background and inheriting a plethora of woodworking tools. Having been interested bass playing and drawing since his teenage years, LeCompte’s designs vary from paying homage to classic instruments to unique shapes and lines that defy that... »

  • iPad as a Musical Study Tool

    iPad as a Musical Study Tool

    Q: I recently bought an iPad. Do you have any suggestions for apps that you find useful for music study and practicing? A: Hello, my name is Damian, and I’m an app junkie. Addiction aside, there are some wonderful apps that can help you to either practice more efficiently or just inspire you in new... »

  • Reducing Feedback on Amplified Upright Bass

    Reducing Feedback on Amplified Upright Bass

    Steve Bunker sent in this request: “Can you talk about the best way to amplify the upright to avoid feedback and the best way to record the bass. I play mostly rockabilly.” Hi Steve! I’ll get to the recording part of the question another week. For today, let’s talk feedback. Feedback is a real problem... »

  • Chord Tone Exercise

    Chord Tone Exercise

    Q: Can you give an example of how one might get more comfortable with available chord tones? A: An exercise that I’ve been enjoying lately addresses this exact issue! I’ve previously stressed the importance of developing the ability to arpeggiate chords in every inversion while working through any tune in the Real Book. To refresh... »

  • Exploring Alternate Chord Voicings

    Exploring Alternate Chord Voicings

    Q: Do you have any thoughts on how I can explore some alternate chord voicings? I’m having a hard time going beyond the typical root position chord shapes. A: Yes! I recently posted a Youtube video in which I work through a Steve Swallow tune (“Falling Grace”) in real time and demonstrate a great exercise... »

  • Practicing Scales

    Practicing Scales

    The last installment of the Lowdown inspired a question from a reader about the “proper way to practice scales.” That would all depend on your specific goal, whether it be a technical or a musical one. There are innumerable ways to practice scales, and a plethora of material available to give you guidance. At the... »

  • Custom Shop: Ansir Music

    Custom Shop: Ansir Music

    Ansir Music is a custom shop based out of Ohio, consisting of the team of founder Jody Michael and artist Deric Smith. Jody, who has owned and operated a high precision tool and die shop, began to mix his bass-playing hobby with work, designing and creating basses. In turn, his business partner Deric, a self-taught... »